Monday, June 10, 2013

Yes, Honey, Your Government Spies On You

My daughters want the radio on as soon as we get in the car. I always check NPR, which elicits the same panicked and comic response every time. It never gets old.

Today's topic was government spying, and I actually made the girls listen for a bit. They both have phones and ipods, they use computers all the time. They need to know what's going on with the technology they use and will continue to use for the rest of their lives.

I hate to say, but Edward Snowden's disclosure that our government is spying on us wasn't much of a surprise. In fact, when our legislators passed the Patriot Act after 9/11, they pretty much told us they were going to spy on us. They told us it was the only way to keep us safe from terrorism, and for the most part, the public went along with it. Most people were willing to give up some privacy to fight terrorism.

Now we have Verizon handing our phone records over to the NSA, and people are starting to say, "Wait a second."

Not to worry though, the government says it's just looking at phone numbers and duration of calls. Obama says that this kind of data collection has protected us from terrorist threats to the United States. I believe that's true. BUT............

How far do we take this? We didn't catch the Boston bombers, so does that mean we should be monitoring even more of our communications? And if we do that, why not check for other criminal activity in the data gathered? That would make us safer too, wouldn't it?

Obama says we need to have a national discussion about the balance between security and privacy. I certainly agree with that. With technology expanding exponentially and making it easier and easier to spy on people, the security/privacy balancing act figures to be an issue that grows with my daughters.


  1. I think anytime you go online you can assume someone is watching. I just hope the people at Google choke on their lunch when they look up some of the"research" queries I've done for my novel. :P

  2. “The choice for mankind lay between freedom and happiness and… for the great bulk of mankind, happiness was better.” – George Orwell, 1984.

  3. But in choosing the happiness, Robin, most of them ended up enslaved and still unhappy.

    When i first got an email account, back on the free program Juno in the dinosaur age, i read a quote from an attorney who noted that "Sending an email or posting something on computers is like taking out an ad in the classifieds forever." That's at the back of my mind in what i do online.

  4. I should be more upset about this. As soon as I have something to hide, I'm sure I will be.